It is official: As of today, both my children are in double digits.
Today is my youngest daughter’s 10th birthday. She’s actually resisted turning 10 with the same gusto that most adults fend off 50 as long as they can.
Unlike her sister, who can’t wait to be one year older, she wants to remain my baby. I assured her that she would still be my baby at 20, 30 and beyond, but privately I mourned a little bit of her passing from childhood towards adolescence.
Don’t get me wrong, there are things that I like about having kids who are 10 and up — they dress themselves, clean up after themselves (most of the time) and can even feed themselves when I am not around. But there is also a sense of time moving at a lightning pace, which is very different from the molasses pace of the baby years.
I am now counting the years until they go to college and am painfully aware that I “have them” for just a little while longer, and then they will go out in to the world and begin their own lives separate from their parents.
Ten is actually a lovely age. While children are just becoming independent at this age, they are also still connected to their parents emotionally. They have not yet reached the dark and surly locked-door teen years. They still talk to us, and want to be with us. So, I think I will enjoy my daughter and her foray into double digits with the knowledge that I may lose her to the teenage tunnel in just a few years.
When my daughter told me she didn’t want to turn 10, I asked her what age she would like to be.
“Eight, I liked eight. I think I would like to stay eight forever,” she said. “How about you?”
I thought long and hard about this question. The thirties were pretty good — I like to refer to this as “the decade before aches and pains.”
I wouldn’t be 20-something again for any amount of money - too much indecision and too many mistakes. The teen years were an emotional roller coaster, but 10, 10 was pretty good as I recall. All was right with the world when I was ten.
“Ten sounds pretty good to me,” I replied with a grin.
“OK, then I’ll be ten too. We’ll both be ten,” she said in between giggles, and then turned on her heels to run outside and play, to begin her journey in to the next phase of girlhood.
Amanda Lamb is the mom of two, a reporter for WRAL-TV and the author of several books including three on motherhood. Find her here on Mondays.